Tag Archives: Alicia Vikander

Tomb Raider (2018) Review

Time: 118 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft
Dominic West as Lord Richard Croft
Walton Goggins as Mathias Vogel
Daniel Wu as Lu Ren
Kristin Scott Thomas as Ana Miller
Director: Roar Uthaug

Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer (Dominic West) who vanished years earlier. Hoping to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance, Croft embarks on a perilous journey to his last-known destination — a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan. The stakes couldn’t be higher as Lara must rely on her sharp mind, blind faith and stubborn spirit to venture into the unknown.

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I was cautiously optimistic about Tomb Raider. Very few video game movies I would even be able to call okay. Even though this new version of Tomb Raider was based on the great 2013 rebooted series and starred Oscar winning Alicia Vikander, I was still sceptical. Video games movies even today struggle, Assassins Creed had stars like Michael Fassbender and Marion Cottillard and had the director of Macbeth yet it ended up being okay at best. So really I wasn’t sure how Tomb Raider was going to be, turns out however that it was actually quite decent. The plot is quite familiar and the movie overall isn’t anything special, but as an action adventure it works quite well, and it’s far better than at least nearly all video game movies that have come before it.

I played the Tomb Raider games starting from the 2013 reboot, there are some similarities to the reboot, with this story being Lara starting out on her first adventure and the tone being more darker and realistic. At the same time it’s not just the original game adapted completely, so it’s free to do it’s own story and doesn’t feel confined, which is good. Tomb Raider knows what it is, that being a fun action adventure, yet it takes itself seriously enough for you to somewhat care about what’s going on, it’s balanced out well enough. The plot is straightforward enough, it’s not needlessly complicated. That’s probably why the Tomb Raider movies are among the better video game movies, there isn’t a lot of convoluted and complicated details to shove in and its easy to fit the character and world into movie-like stories. I will say that it did drag in parts in the second act but aside from that the pacing was fine enough. Tomb Raider has kind of a predictable plot, by a third of the way into the movie, you’ll probably be able to tell where the story will go and end. However that wasn’t too much of a problem for me, it is clearly just meant to be an enjoyable action movie, nothing more. Comparing a video game movie to something like to Indiana Jones is rather unfair and ludicrous honestly. Tomb Raider does quite well with what it set out to do. The end of the movie is setting up for a sequel, there are some elements in the movie which does feel a little world-buildy but it didn’t distract too much from the main story overall, except for the very last scene which is a little too blatant. By the end though, I was satisfied enough with the movie that I’m ready to see a sequel.

Just like how the 2013 reboot differed from the older games, Lara Croft here, played by Alicia Vikander, is noticeably different from the Angelina Jolie versions of the character. She’s starting out on her first adventure, she’s vulnerable and not invincible, yet very capable, she’s very similar to the rebooted Lara Croft. Alicia Vikander’s Lara Croft is probably the biggest takeaway from the movie. Vikander did a great job as Croft and was quite an effective screen presence, you can really buy her in her role. The fact that Vikander is doing most of her own stunts also helped. She really does get to shine in this movie, and I’m glad they utilised her well unlike some other video game movies that have great actors who are ultimately wasted. The supporting cast also do well, even though their characters aren’t handled as well as Lara. Supporting actors like Daniel Wu and Dominic West play their parts well. Walton Goggins also acted pretty well as the villain though he is let down by his character, who isn’t given too much to work with.

There is some editing and cutting problems during some of the action and fight sequences, which does bring down the movie a little bit because of how jarring it can make these sequences feel but I’ve seen way worse cases of it in other movies, and it didn’t bother me too much. Aside from that the direction of the film by Roar Uthaug is actually quite good, like the reboot of the game series it is more realistic than the previous versions of the games/movies, while being big enough that it’s quite entertaining. The CGI was a little hit or miss, at times it looks pretty impressive, at other times it can look pretty fake. The score from Junkie XL was also pretty good.

Tomb Raider is one of the best video game movies, it’s up there with Warcraft. It actually manages to be a little more than just a passable or guilty pleasure movie, and for a video game movie, that’s saying a lot. While it’s not great and it does have it’s fair share of issues, it is decent and entertaining, and I really do recommend going out to see it. I do hope it gets a sequel, it definitely has a lot of potential and with the way it set things up for a possible follow up, I could see an Alicia Vikander led Tomb Raider film franchise working. As for this first instalment in the possible franchise, fans of the rebooted series will probably like it, and I can see general audiences enjoying it for what it is. Either way, I’d say go out and give it a chance.

Jason Bourne (2016) Review

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Jason Bourne

Time: 123 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne
Tommy Lee Jones as Robert Dewey
Alicia Vikander as Heather Lee
Vincent Cassel as The Asset
Julia Stiles as Nicolette “Nicky” Parsons
Riz Ahmed as Aaron Kalloor
Director: Paul Grengrass

It’s been 10 years since Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) walked away from the agency that trained him to become a deadly weapon. Hoping to draw him out of the shadows, CIA director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) assigns hacker and counterinsurgency expert Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) to find him. Lee suspects that former operative Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) is also looking for him. As she begins tracking the duo, Bourne finds himself back in action battling a sinister network that utilizes terror and technology to maintain unchecked power.

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The Bourne trilogy is one of the best action franchises ever created. For this reason, I was looking forward to the 5th instalment to the franchise, named Jason Bourne, with director Paul Greengrass and main star Matt Damon returning, with a talented cast filled with actors like Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones and Vincent Cassel. While some people are feeling mixed about the latest instalment, I think that Jason Bourne is yet another great addition to the franchise. It’s quite similar to the other films, it’s entertaining, interesting, it’s not perfect but it’s very enjoyable.

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Jason Bourne definitely has a similar formula to the other Bourne movies but there’s nothing wrong with that. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Bourne is on the run, trying to find out what’s going on, pretty much every Bourne film ever made. Plotwise don’t have many problems with the movie. One fault I will say though is that the film does at times focus on a subplot involving government oversight and security with Riz Ahmed’s character which really was unnecessary. It wasn’t bad but it felt a little out of place and there was already a good enough plot with Bourne hunting down the CIA. The film would’ve benefited a lot more without this subplot. In parts I’ll also say the film did drag a little, particularly the first act. Those are really my only problems though.

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Matt Damon is effortlessly great as Jason Bourne, this is his 5th time that he played the character and he’s just as believable and great in the role as he was decades ago in The Bourne Identity. The supporting cast was also great. Riz Ahmed was really good, even though I didn’t like his subplot in the story he did play his scenes very well. Alicia Vikander is a great actress and in this movie I thought she was decent, nothing spectacular but nothing bad either. The main opposing forces against Bourne were also great, that being Tommy Lee Jones who was really effective as the head of the CIA and Vincent Cassel, who was a standout for me as a ruthless assassin sent after Jason Bourne.

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If you don’t like the action in the previous Bourne films, you definitely won’t like the action here. It’s very similar to the previous films, handheld and shaky but once again like in the previous movies, it’s not used to hide bad stuntwork, you really believe what is going on. I liked all the action scenes in the film but a stand out scene for me was a car chase in Las Vegas in the third act, that was for me the best action scene in the film. I can’t really think of an action scene which didn’t work for me.

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I’m not exactly sure why this movie seemed to receive a mixed reception. I will admit that this movie isn’t really necessary, The Bourne Ultimatum tied up all the loose ends and so Jason Bourne didn’t need to exist. But with that said, it was a good film nonetheless. If you liked the other Bourne films, you will probably like this film as well at the very least. I actually do hope that they continue with more films, Paul Greengrass has given us 3 great Bourne films, I want to see more from him.

The Danish Girl (2015) Review

Eddie Redmayne stars as Lili Elbe, in Tom Hooper’s THE DANISH GIRL, released by Focus Features. Credit: Focus Features

The Danish Girl

Time: 119 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Nudity and Sex Scenes
Cast:
Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe/Einar Wegener
Alicia Vikander as Gerda Wegener
Matthias Schoenaerts as Hans Axgil
Ben Whishaw as Henrik
Amber Heard as Ulla
Sebastian Koch as Dr. Warnekros
Director: Tom Hooper

After standing in as a female model for a painting by his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander), Danish artist Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) becomes enamored with his feminine identity and begins living as a woman named Lili Elbe. Although their marriage becomes strained, Gerda stands by Lili as she explores her true self and eventually undergoes one of the world’s first gender-reassignment surgeries in the 1930s.

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Ever since the first image of Eddie Redmayne in this movie came out, I was intrigued. This sounded like an interesting movie, as well with Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander’s and Tom Hooper’s involvement. While it’s not great, I do think that The Danish Girl is worth seeing for its performances from its lead actors. The production design and direction of the scenes are still pretty good as well and the overall direction of the scenes from Hooper was decent. However its writing didn’t quite hold up, and unfortunately does bring down the movie a little bit from what it could’ve been.

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As I just mentioned, I felt that the writing was the weakest aspect of the movie. I don’t think it’s bad by any means and it gets the job done in moving the plot and characters along. I did hear that it was inaccurate from the original story but I don’t know of the original story. I will say that I thought that Redmayne’s change and how that affected his and Vikander’s relationship was handled well. But the writing did fall short of what it could’ve been. The movie despite being 2 hours long did feel like 2 hours and a half, I think it was stretched out a little too much. I also thought that the film really didn’t explore who these two characters actually were. After the seeing the movie I realised that apart from their place in the plot, I didn’t really know much of who they are. There was some emotional component that was missing from this movie, I can’t exactly determine what it is.

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Eddie Redmayne is again incredible and made up for his disastrous performance in Jupiter Ascending. I thought his transition and discovery was very believable, he manages to portray both Einar and ‘Lili’, and seemed totally different from one another, this must’ve been a very difficult role to pull off. The fact that when Eddie Redmayne is dressed up as a woman, actually looked like a woman helped, in fact he looked more out of place when he wasn’t dressed up as a woman, both physically and emotionally. Alicia Vikander is also great, she gets a lot to do in this movie as a wife seeing her husband slowly disappearing and coming to terms with his transformation. Although I felt that the characters didn’t have that much depth in terms of the writing, both Redmayne and Vikander made them seem like real people and elevated themselves above the material given.

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The production designs and value was great and I thought that it reflected the 1920s time period quite well. The soundtrack by Johann Johansson was also great. The scenes and the overall film were directed well by Tom Hooper, my problem is really not with his visual direction, it was the script that had the most problems.

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The Danish Girl isn’t that great of a movie and doesn’t hold up as well on its own. The writing could’ve been better, the pacing could’ve been handled better and the characters weren’t as well written as they should’ve. But it’s the performances from Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander that make the film worth watching. Sure the movie on the whole could’ve been better, especially with the writing, but the performances are good enough for me to recommend this movie.

2016 Oscar Predictions

When you look at it in the grand scheme of things, movie awards really don’t matter. There are plenty of movies that should win but don’t, some of them don’t even get nominated, and there are some movies that don’t really deserve to win, but win anyway. So no matter what happens during the awards ceremony, it doesn’t really matter. But still, it’s fun to predict what movies will win and at the same time state what you think should win. Since everyone else is doing it, I decided to give my predictions for the 2016 Academy Awards. I have watched most of the films in the major categories but occasionally there’s a movie like The Hateful Eight which I can’t or just haven’t seen, so just keep that in mind.

* – Haven’t seen yet

BEST PICTURE

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The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room*
Spotlight

Will Win – The Revenant
Should Win – The Revenant
Should’ve Been Nominated – Carol

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Best Director

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Adam McKay – The Big Short
George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson – Room*
Tom McCarthy – Spotlight

Will Win – Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant
Should Win – George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should’ve Been Nominated – Todd Haynes – Carol

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BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

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Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Will Win – Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Should Win – Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

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BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

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Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room*
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years*
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Will Win – Brie Larson, Room
Should Win – Cate Blanchett, Carol
Should’ve Been Nominated – Rooney Mara, Carol (instead of being nominated for supporting)

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BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

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Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Will Win – Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Should Win – Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Should’ve Been Nominated – Benicio Del Toro, Sicario

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ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

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Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight*
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Will Win – Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Should Win – Rooney Mara, Carol

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BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Left to right: Steve Carell plays Mark Baum and Ryan Gosling plays Jared Vennett in The Big Short from Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises

The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room*

Will Win – The Big Short
Should Win – The Big Short
Should’ve Been Nominated – Steve Jobs

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BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

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Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina*
Inside Out
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton*

Will Win – Spotlight
Should Win – Spotlight
Should’ve Been Nominated – The Hateful Eight*

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ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

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Anomalisa*
Boy and the World*
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie*
When Marnie Was There*

Will Win – Inside Out
Should Win – Inside Out

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BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Bridge of Spies – Thomas Newman
Carol – Carter Burwell
The Hateful Eight – Ennio Morricone
Sicario – Johann Johannsson
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – John Williams

Will Win – The Hateful Eight
Should Win – The Hateful Eight
Should’ve Been Nominated – Mad Max: Fury Road – Junkie XL

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BEST SOUND EDITING

Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road

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BEST SOUND MIXING

Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road

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BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

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Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should’ve Been Nominated – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

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Carol
The Hateful Eight*
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Sicario

Will Win – The Revenant
Should Win – The Revenant
Should’ve Been Nominated – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

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Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared*
The Revenant

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road

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BEST COSTUME DESIGN

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Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road

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BEST FILM EDITING

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The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should’ve Been Nominated – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

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Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win – Mad Max: Fury Road
Should Win – Mad Max: Fury Road

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So what are your thoughts, what do you think will win, what do you think should win and what do you think should’ve been nominated? Comment below and let me know your predictions for 2016.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) Review

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The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Time: 116 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence and Offensive Language
Cast:
Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo
Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin
Alicia Vikander as Gabriella “Gaby” Teller
Elizabeth Debicki as Victoria Vinciguerra
Jared Harris as Saunders
Hugh Grant as Alexander Waverly
Director: Guy Ritchie

In the 1960s with the Cold War in play, CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) successfully helps Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander) defect to West Germany despite the intimidating opposition of KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer). Later, all three unexpectedly find themselves working together in a joint mission to stop a private criminal organization from using Gaby’s father’s scientific expertise to construct their own nuclear bomb. Through clenched teeth and stylish poise, all three must find a way to cooperate for the sake of world peace, even as they each pursue their own agendas.

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Along with the cast, the main reason I was interested in this movie was Guy Ritchie. Guy Ritchie can create very stylish and entertaining movies and seeing him take on the 60s spy genre is something that I was curious about. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is not a great movie but it is entertaining. The style benefited the movie, the acting was good and I was generally enjoying watching it. However the story wasn’t very strong and you don’t really care much about what’s going on. I still think that it’s enjoyable to watch but don’t expect something particularly great going into it.

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This film definitely has more style over substance, if you know Guy Ritchie, you sort of know what sort of style you’re getting. Even when I enjoyed the style, when it comes to the plot in U.N.C.L.E., it’s nothing special. The plot worked for the film but you don’t really remember much of it and it’s a quite a familiar premise. I didn’t really care much about what was going on, or cared much for the characters. I was enjoying the way it was done but didn’t really care much for the story. I could tell that it was trying to spoof the 1960s spy movies and I thought that it worked quite well in doing that. The humour worked quite well however when the film actually tries to have serious moments, it really didn’t hit the right notes. I think that Ritchie probably should have stayed with the over the top tone, have a much simpler plot and go all out silly with the movie and just have even more fun with it.

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Henry Cavill was great, despite being British he was actually convincing at being an American. Armie Hammer worked for the film even though I felt that his Russian accent was a little over the top at times (odd casting by the way, a Brit playing an American and an American playing a Russian). The two have great chemistry and it lead to some humorous moments between the two. Alicia Vikander was also pretty good in a supporting role. I would’ve liked to have seen Hugh Grant more, he is great when he was on screen but it happens so little that I can’t help but feel like he was wasted in this movie.

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As I said earlier, this movie was more style over substance, but the style is enjoyable and added something to this movie. Sometimes it did feel that Ritchie’s fast style was used a little too much and distracted a little but most of the time I thought it worked well in the movie. The action scenes are also really good and very entertaining.

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The Man from UNCLE doesn’t require viewing but it is entertaining. The acting was decent and the action scenes are pretty good but the plot is a little forgettable and you don’t really care about what’s going on. Still it’s a decent watch and it is enjoyable, however it’s not a movie that you need to see and it’s not really one of Guy Ritchie’s best.